By coincident, during my visit to Wroclaw, I have learned that Marks & Spencer stocks a few bottles of cider. Surprisingly, such cider brands as Sheppy’s, Westons or Guillet Freres produce cider for Marks & Spencer. Time to find out how they may taste like!
Place of Origin: Taunton, Somerset, UK
Apples:a blend of traditional bittersweet and bittersharp cider apple varieties such as Yarlington Mill, Chisel Jersey, Stoke Red, Tremlett’s Bitter and Coate’s Jersey.
Sweetness as per label: medium
Package type: 500ml brown glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, snifter or white wine glass
Ingredients: apple juice, water, sugar, carbon dioxide, malic acid, sulphites, yeast.
Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with no head. The body is light. Carbonation is artificial.
Aroma/Nose: smells of beeswax with notes of leather, ripe red and fermented apples. Very tannic. The scent is dry nice and extremely inviting.
Taste: it starts moderately sweet with light to moderate acidity (you can taste that malic acid was added) and a watery taste. The mid-palate is pleasant with ripe red apples and smoked cheese. The finish is dry with a light bitter taste and a touch of tart apples.
Overall: Beautiful, as a matter of fact hypnotizing, a scent of quite funky proper cider notes invites you to take the first sip. But the moment you tried it you regret you didn’t stop there. This cider is a profanity! On the spot, you can say that a really decent cider made from cider apples was mixed with artificial and completely unnecessary ingredients, which makes this cider almost undrinkable. I feel really sorry for the cider maker, who sold his soul to Marks&Spencer as the addition of malic acid just killed this cider. Perhaps I am a cider purist and sensitive to all sorts of ‘improvements’ with synthetic ingredients as my friend who shared the bottle with me gave the Somerset Traditional 4 out of 6. I will not be that generous. Why, the hell, did you have to spoil such a good cider? 2.5/6
Availability: online and locally from Marks & Spencer
Price: purchased from Marks&Spencer in Wroclaw, Poland at 12 PLN (2.85 EUR)